On a Saturday afternoon in mid-September I attended a service of worship in memory and celebration of the life of a Facebook friend. She was more than that. She was a part of my life by our both belonging to the same congregational community. An accomplished musician (flute), a writer and lover of poetry and a compassionate soul speaking for kindness and against all kinds of oppressive acts in our world.
A couple of years ago she was diagnosed with cancer. Looking back it seems the cancer was well advanced by the time it was diagnosed. In the face of the prognosis she set out to accomplish as much as she could in whatever amount of time she had left with us. And she did right up to end.
I tell this vignette from my life because of something that happened during that service.
There had been words of remembrance and thanksgiving with plenty of laughter. There were words of thanksgiving and hope on the theme of peace by the reverend. And there were the prayers of thanksgiving for her life.
Then came the final hymn. The words were familiar and used metaphors of nature to express the hopes of an afterlife. As the singing started I was transported back 13 years to this same church and a different final hymn at the funeral of my wife Margaret. The words and music were different but the themes were close. I was back at that moment reliving its details. And I cried.
I cried at the beauty of the words. I cried at the beauty of the music. I shed tears at the memories of another diagnosis of cancer; memories of the unflinching decisions to accomplish important things before the end.
I cried because 13 years later my departed loved one is still a part of my life.
Sometimes those early on the grief journey worry that they may forget the loved one and the tragedy that caused their grief. Know that the missing part of your life will always be with you. And moments like a news report or some music or attending the funeral of a friend will bring them to your notice and induce tears once more for your missing loved one.